Holy Grail Announces Fall/Winter Tour Dates

 

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

It looks like Holy Grail’s fans will have to wait a little bit longer for the band to release its highly-anticipated third album. The as-yet untitled album, which the band had allegedly hoped to release this year, will now be released in the first quarter of 2016. While fans wait for its release, they just might get to hear some of the band’s new songs when it hits the road this fall and winter.

Holy Grail Tour Posters

Holy Grail announced this week that it will hit the road beginning November 25th in support of its upcoming album. It will join fellow metal acts Night Demon for the tour. Also announced for the band’s upcoming tour schedule is a pair of shows alongside Flotsam and Jetsam at Death Angel’s 2nd annual Christmas Show. Holy Grail’s full schedule of shows on its upcoming Fall/Winter 2015 tour is listed below.

TOUR DATES
11/25 San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick &
12/04 Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock &
12/05 Albuquerque, NM – Sister Bar &
12/07 Austin, TX – Dirty Dog Bar &
12/08 Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar n’ Grill &
12/09 Oklahoma City, OK – The Conservatory &
12/10 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room &
12/11 Denver, CO – Casselman’s Bar & Venue &
12/12 Salt Lake City, UT – The Loading Dock &
12/13 Las Vegas, NV – Dive Bar &
12/16 Hollywood, CA – The Roxy #
12/18 San Francisco, CA – Slim’s #
& with Night Demon
# with Death Angel, Flotsam & Jetsam

More information on Holy Grail’s upcoming shows is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.holygrailofficial.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/holygrailofficial

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

SAD, HRS To Debut ‘Rock Star’ Video Next Week

Courtesy:  Nigel Skeet/Homeless Rock Stars/Shimon Moore

Courtesy: Nigel Skeet/Homeless Rock Stars/Shimon Moore

Next Tuesday, Screaming At Demons will debut the video for its new song ‘Rock Star.’ The video, a six-minute music video/documentary hybrid will debut on the band’s Vevo channel. The video’s intent is to help benefit the nationally known homeless organization Homeless Rock Stars. The brainchild of photographer Nigel Skeet, Homeless Rock Stars officially went global this summer.

Screaming at Demons front man Shimon Moore travelled to Redding, California this summer to film and take part in a Homeless Rock Stars youth event. The result of the event is the video for the song, whose sales will go to benefit Homeless Rock Stars. More than seventy members of the Redding community took part in the event. Their contributions included interviewing and restoring members of the local homeless population. Among the volunteers at the event were local members of the local city council, community leaders, and business leaders. The recent event is just the first phase of Homeless Rock Stars’ plans. Events have already been planned to take place across America throughout 2016.

Screaming at Demons will release ‘Rock Star’ worldwide next Tuesday, October 6th at 10pm ET/7pm PST. It will not be available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify or any other online outlet. The only way that the song can be purchased is through donations to Homeless Rock Stars. Audiences will be given a number to which they can text at the end of the video in order to donate. After donating, the song will be sent directly to users’ phones and e-mail. The United Way of Northern California is the fiscal agent of Homeless Rock Stars. More information on Homeless Rock Stars including all of its latest news is available online now at:

Website: http://homelessrockstars.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/homelessrockstars

More information on Screaming At Demons is available online now along with a trailer for the band’s upcoming full-length studio recording at:

Website: http://www.ScreamingAtDemons.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/screamingatdemons

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Strait Rides Away In Style In His Final Live Performance

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Legendary country musician George Strait’s days on the road are officially over. On June 7, 2014, the man known lovingly within the country music world as “The King of Country” wrapped the final leg of his tour fittingly dubbed “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.” The tour wrapped at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It should be noted that while the show marked the end of his days on the road, it didn’t mark the end of his recording career. Of course Judas Priest’s members said the same thing some years ago and look how that turned out. So time will tell if he has indeed parked his tour bus for the last time. Regardless, Strait’s fans and country music fans in general can now own that landmark concert for themselves thanks to the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment. The leading name in live recordings, Eagle Rock Entertainment released The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium late this summer exclusively on DVD and digital formats. It goes without saying that whether one is a fan of the country music royalty, a fan of real country music or a little of both, this recording is a must for each. The central reason for that is the show’s extensive forty-song set list, which runs just short of three hours. Strait’s stage presence and that of his fellow country artists is another reason that fans will enjoy this recording. Last but hardly least worth noting is the concert’s production values. Even on DVD its production values are top-notch. They make the show’s near three-hour run time well worth it both in regards to the show’s set list and the performers’ stage presence. All things told, The Cowboy Rides Away Live From AT&T Stadium proves in the end to be a recording that every George Strait fan will enjoy just as much as any fan of real country music.

The Cowboy Rides Away Live from AT&T Stadium is a must have for any George Strait fan and any fan of real country music. So much can be said as to why this is the case. Jumping right in, the central reason for its success is its extensive forty-song set list. Covering so much ground it can be said of the near three-hour performance that it is one of those rare live shows released in recent years that is truly deserving of being called career-spanning. What’s more the very fact that Strait opted for such a rich set list is in itself groundbreaking. That is because few if any other acts out there past or present have ever released single performance recordings with so many songs. Even acts such as The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, The Who, and others have never released such an expansive single-show recording. That in itself speaks volumes about this recording. That every featured song is a fan favorite says even more. One of the bet of the show’s best is ‘Murder on Music Row,’ which he performs here with fellow veteran artist Alan Jackson. There’s a lot of truth in that song. Real country music is hard to find nowadays. There seems to be more southern rock and pop country out there today than real, pure country. On a different note (no pun intended) ‘I Saw God Today’ is another of the show’s best moments. The tender ballad sung from the vantage point of a new parent will bring a smile (and tears) to every fan’s face. The all-star performance of his classic hit ‘All My Ex’s Live In Texas’ is one more of the show’s best moments. It’s obvious that the performers had just as much fun performing the song as did the audience singing along. What’s more seeing so many great names representing country’s past, present, and future on one stage essentially honoring one of country’s greatest names of all time gives this performance even more of a special meaning. It’s just one of so many examples of the importance of the show’s songs in the big picture of the show’s set list. Of course the songs chosen for this show are just one part of what makes the set list in whole so important to the recording’s overall positive impact. The ordering of the songs is just as important as the songs themselves.

The songs that make up the concert’s set list make more than enough reason for Strait’s fans and real country fans alike to watch this recording. However, they are only one part of the set list that makes it so important to the whole of the recording. The ordering of the songs is just as pivotal to the show’s enjoyment as the songs themselves. Audiences will be quite impressed in taking in this concert to note the balance of its more upbeat moments with its softer, more emotional moments. From one song to the next Strait and company build the show’s energy and pull it back at just the right points from beginning to end. The end result is a near three-hour performance that will keep fans at home just as engaged as those that were in attendance at the concert’s taping. The mix of that smart sequencing with song after song that every fan will enjoy makes this concert one that even being Strait’s last live show potentially ever is one that fans will want to watch again and again.

The set list chosen for Strait’s final show and its sequencing make for more than enough reason for any George Strait fan and real country music fan alike to watch this recording. They are just a small part of the whole that makes the concert so enjoyable. Strait’s stage performance (and that of his guests) plays its own important role in the concert’s overall effect. Throughout the course of the concert, Strait maintains an almost unassuming demeanor. It could be argued that it actually presents Strait as having this full sense of humility. He doesn’t try to run around the stage and put on a certain kind of persona. it is more along the lines of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get persona. It’s nice to see such a humble persona. Believe it or not it adds quite a bit to the concert’s overall effect on fans. By contrast, his guests–of whom includes the likes of Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Eric Church, Martina McBride and others–are more energetic by and large. The juxtaposition of Strait’s stage presence to those of his fellow musicians makes for even more enjoyment. And when coupled with the show’s set list, both elements solidify the reason for fans to add this recording to their own home DVD libraries even more so. The combination of both elements would mean little, though without proper production values–the last of the recording’s positives.

Both the set list chosen for George Strait’s “final” live performance and the stage presence of Strait and his fellow musicians are equally important to the overall effect of this recording. Of course neither would be of any importance without proper production values. Luckily for fans the production values presented in the concert contained herein are of the utmost expertise. Even presented on DVD, it looks and sounds just as good as being there if not better. That could be chalked up just as much to the equipment at Strait’s disposal as those charged with manning the boards for the show. The same can be said of those charged with the show’s audio in post-production. On the side of the show’s video mix, having a slowly circulating stage could not have hurt the camera crew. On the one hand it offered the camera crew and co-directors Danny O’Bryen and Brian Lockwood plenty of options for good shots. That is because the stage was set dead center in the stadium as if it was set up for the Super Bowl’s half time show. The camera crew could shoot from on stage, from the crowd (especially since the stage wasn’t that high above the stadium floor), and from so many other angles. Having so many options and so much talent, the result of the production crew’s work is a concert that gives home viewers an even better seat than those in attendance from beginning to end. And coupled with an audio mix that is just as impressive, Strait’s performance (and that of his guests) coupled with the show’s rich, expansive set list proves to be a concert experience that is a wonderful final performance from a legendary artist should it in fact prove to be his last.

George Strait’s performance from June 7th, 2014 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas is largely believed to be the legendary country musician’s final live performance. If indeed it proves years down the road to be his final live performance, then it is a wonderful way for Strait to go out. That is even with Strait claiming that he will still continue to record new music while no longer touring. The show’s rich set list will please every one of his fans as it more than lives up to the honor of being called a career-spanning show. The sequencing of the show’s songs, Strait’s performance (and that of his guests), and the show’s expert production values come together to make the concert whole and one that fans of all ages will enjoy with every watch. It is a wonderful final performance from a legendary artist that even if it is his last, will hopefully not be his last recorded concert to ever be released. The Cowboy Rides Away Live From AT&T Stadium is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Putumayo’s Latest Collection Is A Must Have For Any Lover Of Latin Music

Courtesy:  Putumayo World Music

Courtesy: Putumayo World Music

Putumayo is one of the most well-known and respected labels in the world music community.  It has been introducing listeners to great sounds from around the world for more than two decades.  And late this summer the label, which is in this critic’s eyes (and ears) one of the leading labels in the world music community, proved yet again why it is such a highly revered company when it released its latest collection of songs Vintage Latino.  Vintage Latino is one of the best of this year’s new crop of offerings within the realm of world music.  The twelve-track record is a virtual musical love letter to a bygone era; a simpler era.  It instantly transports listeners back to that time and leaves them yearning for that era.  It’s just one part of what makes this collection so enjoyable.  It will be discussed shortly.  The history lesson of sorts that is provided in the pages of the compilation’s companion booklet adds to its overall effect.  Listeners learn about the acts featured across the disc and the various musical styles that each played along with even more interesting historical tidbits.  In direct connection to the history provided to listeners through the collection’s companion booklet, Putumayo adds to the vintage effect by adding in a recipe for an actual Borrego Mojito in the back of the booklet for older listeners.  For those that aren’t familiar with the history of the mojito in general, it is a drink that originated in Cuba.  It has grown and is presented in a number of variations today including the Berrigo Mojito, which in many cases includes a slice of grapefruit.  In the case of this recipe, the grapefruit is replaced with a slice of lime.  All three noted elements are equally important in their own right to the overall success and enjoyment of Vintage Latino.  Altogether, they make this collection one that any true Latin music aficionado should have in his or her own music library.

Putumayo’s latest Latin music collection Vintage Latino is a compilation that every true Latin music aficionado should have in his or her own music library.  The main reason that it is such a must have and hear is its presented songs.  Twelve classic Latin tunes are presented across the course of the record’s forty-minute run time.  The central aspect of the songs that makes them so enjoyable is the very fact that they will instantly transport listeners back to a bygone era of music; a simpler time.  If listeners just close their eyes and let themselves take in the music, they can see those old night clubs that dotted the Cuban streets way back in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s with their elaborately painted and decorated halls and dance floors, the candlelit tables, and waiters in their finest outfits, and bands up on stage entertaining everyone.  There are also images of small groups of musicians playing on the streets.  Considering the number of Latin music albums and compilations available to listeners today, few of said collections are able to create such a welcome sense of nostalgia.  On another level, the songs introduce listeners to a handful of different musical styles that exist within the realm of Latin music.  Those musical styles include the bolero, danson-cha, son, and others.  They make for a good starting point for any music theory and more specifically college level Latin music class. This is just one of a number of reasons that Vintage Latino is well worth the listen by any fan of Latin music. The history lesson of sorts included through the collection’s companion booklet adds even more reason for Latin music fans to check out this new release.

The companion booklet included in Putumayo’s new Latin music collection is just as important to its overall presentation as the music itself. That is because it isn’t just a bunch of liner notes assembled to fill out the booklet. Rather listeners get a history lesson of sorts. Each of the compilation’s songs is accompanied in the collection’s booklet by a brief yet concise history on said songs and those that recorded and performed them. And there is a lot of interesting material contained within the pages of the booklet. For instance, there is mention of the influence of Tito Puente’s big band on Republique Democratique Du Mambo in crafting its sound, including that featured in the song ‘Cha Cha Cha Para Ti.’ Just as interesting is the history of Trio Zamora’s ‘Chinita.’ Listeners will learn in regards to this song that if not for the efforts of a pair of Jewish immigrants, it might have been lost to history along with so many other of the trio’s compositions. There is an equally rich history behind ‘Besame Mucho,’ which is one of the most well-known Latin compositions in the modern history of music. It is just one more example of why the history presented within the pages of Vintage Latino’s is just as important to the record’s overall presentation as the songs that make up the body of the record. Together, both elements give listeners a full, rich experience that every listener will enjoy and appreciate. They still are not all that makes the overall presentation that is Vintage Latino so enjoyable. Putumayo has added an interesting bonus to the overall presentation in the form of a Borrego Mojito recipe for older listeners in the back of the booklet. It rounds out the reasons that listeners will like this latest LP from Putumayo.

The music and history that make up the body of Vintage Latino are both equally important reasons for Latin music fans to add this latest collection from Putumayo. While both are of equal importance, they are not all that make the overall presentation so impressive. The bonus Borrego Mojito recipe included in the back of the collection’s booklet rounds out the presentation. While it doesn’t include a history of the mojito or its many variants–the mojito was in fact born in Cuba sometime in the 1500s—the very fact that one of the classic cocktail’s variants has been included here is in itself an interesting addition to the compilation. After making the drink, which often features a slice of grapefruit (the grapefruit has been replaced by a slice of lime here) audiences can turn on this record and feel even more like they have been transported to those old Cuban clubs that originally made the songs featured here so beloved. Together with the songs in question and their companion histories presented within the pages of the record’s booklet, the presentation in whole proves to be a wonderful new collection from one of the leading names in world music and a collection that every Latin music aficionado will want to have in his or her own home music library.

Vintage Latino offers lovers of Latin music so much to enjoy. It offers twelve classic songs that collectively make this record come across as a love letter to the era in which they were originally recorded and to the songs themselves. The companion histories that accompany the songs add even more interest and enjoyment to the record. The Borrego Mojito recipe featured in the back of the record’s booklet rounds out the whole experience. Sitting down to enjoy this variant on the classic cocktail, which itself was born in Cuba, while listening to the record’s featured songs makes for a listening experience that will make listeners feel completely as if they have been transported back to that great time and place. The experience in whole will leave listeners agreeing that Vintage Latino is a must have for any true lover of Latin music. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Putumayo’s online store at http://www.putumayo.com/shop/vintage-latino/. More information on this and other titles from Putumayo is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.putumayo.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Putumayo

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Nanny’s Fourth Season Is Loaded With Laughs

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/CBS

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/CBS

Early this summer Shout! Factory resurrected CBS’ classic sitcom The Nanny and released the series in its entirety for the series’ fans.  It marked the first time ever that the series had ever been released in its entirety and in one complete set for that matter.  Now thanks to the efforts of the people at Shout! Factory, those that were unable to add that extensive set to their home DVD libraries, there’s some good news.  Shout! Factory kicked off the series’ standalone season releases last week.  It kicked things off with the release of the series’ fourth season.  Now before anyone starts wondering, the reason that it didn’t start with Season One, it all has to do with distribution rights.  At last look, it would appear that Mill Creek Entertainment and/or Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) had the rights to the series’ first three seasons.  That in mind, the fact that Shout! Factory was able to obtain the distribution rights for Season Four (and Season Five, which will be released this December via Shout! Factory, too) makes this kickoff to the series’ second half a good starting point for the collection.  The work of the show’s writers is just as worth noting to the triple-disc set’s positives.  While Fran and Maxwell’s on-again off-again relationship remains a central part of the series throughout this season, the writers don’t let themselves get carried away with themselves, thus preventing the series once more from becoming a serial.  There is also plenty of great, edgy writing that will have viewers laughing within each episode’s story line.  By relation, the work of the show’s cast is enjoyable in its own right, too.  Most notably Daniel Davis is among the most entertaining member of the cast thanks to his timing and delivery of his lines.  Though, Fran Drescher is to be commended for her acting, too.  There are some points at which she pulls off some surprisingly impressive tributes to Lucille Ball as in “The Fifth Wheel.”  It’s just one more example of how the cast’s work proves to be just as entertaining as the work of the show’s writing.  Together with the work of the writers and the presentation of Season Four in its entirety, this new box set is a good fit for any of the series’ original fans and for one more welcome alternative to all of the oversexed and overly violent serials, dramas, and so-called comedies that are out there today.

Shout! Factory’s release of The Nanny: Season Four is a big release for the series and for its fans.  That is because until its release last week, this season had never seen the light of day on DVD.  Up until last week the series’ first three seasons are its only installments that had seen the light of day since Sony Pictures Home Entertainment first released Season One some nine years ago.  This is important to note of this season’s set because it is also the first of the series’ standalone season sets to be released by Shout! Factory following the release of the series’ full series set early this summer.  It would have been nice to have seen Shout! Factory start from Season One.  But unluckily, distribution rights for the series’ first three seasons could not be obtained just yet.  That is not the fault of the people at Shout! Factory.  Keeping that in mind, the fourth season of The Nanny is yet another win both for Shout! Factory and for fans of the modern classic sitcom.  This collection boasts all twenty-six episodes included in Season Four in its original run.  Just as impressive is that every episode is presented in exactly the same format as in its original broadcast.  In simpler terms each episode looks and sounds just as good as it did in its original airing.  And the fact that each is shown in whole solidifies this season’s foundation that much more in its first-ever home release.  The impressive nature of Season Four’s overall presentation is a solid start for the collection.  It isn’t the only aspect of the collection that fans and audiences in general will appreciate.  The work of the series’ writers is just as worth noting in regards to this season’s overall enjoyment and success.

The work of The Nanny’s writers in the series’ fourth season is just as important to note in this collections’ success and enjoyment as the work of those charged with assembling the episode for their presentation.  That is because their work results in just as many laughs today as it generated in Season Four’s original run from late 1996 to mid-1997.  The most notable aspect of the writing that makes it so enjoyable is that Fran and Max’s on-again/off-again relationship maintained its place within the show’s overall structure.  At the same time though, the writers didn’t allow that element to dominate Season Four’s run.  Instead the writers crafted twenty-six standalone episodes that, despite having that ongoing, underlying story element were still their own stories.  One of the best of those stories comes in the form of “The Bank Robbery.”  As noted, the ongoing story between Fran and Maxwell is there.  But this is one of those cases in which it becomes more of a secondary element than a central element.  The main story in this episode sees Fran and her mother being caught up in a bumbling bank robber’s plan, only to end up befriending him.  His very reason for robbing the bank will have viewers laughing just as much as the story itself.  That is because it is directly related to Fran’s own situation with her mother.  Speaking of that relationship between Fran and her mother, “The Boca Story,” which sees Fran’s mother buy into a time share scheme of sorts lead to her own emotional breakdown that will have viewers laughing just as much.  This is another of those stories that sees Fran and Maxwell’s personal story take a welcome back seat to the episode’s central story.  Both episodes show that the writers could be just as successful crafting stories that didn’t rely on Fran and Maxwell as those that did.  For those that were more fans of that ongoing, underlying story line, “The Fifth Wheel” is one of this season’s best featuring that story line.  This episode sees Fran swear off men, leading her to become that proverbial fifth wheel when both C.C. and one of Fran’s friends go out on a double date at an Italian restaurant.  The end result is something that can be compared to Lucille’s Ball’s classic comedy from I Love Lucy.  Speaking of that comparison to Ball’s brand of comedy, that moment ties in to the work of the cast throughout Season Four.  It will be discussed along with the rest of the cast’s work later.  Staying on the topic of this season’s writing, the stories alone are just one part of what makes the writing so enjoyable for fans.  The writing within each episode in regards to the jokes is another element that makes the writing enjoyable.

The stories that were crafted for the fourth season of The Nanny show time and again just how enjoyable the writing is in a bigger picture.  However they are only part of what makes the writing noteworthy.  The more minute elements of each episode’s script shows even more why the writing is so enjoyable.  The writing within each episode is edgy to say the least.  Yes, there is a certain amount of sexual innuendo incorporated into each episode.  But in comparison to what audiences get in today’s so-called sitcoms it is tame.  It’s not all that audiences get either in this season’s more detailed writing.  There are pop culture references, political jabs (including one at then presidential candidate Ross Perot), and even a direct reference to one Harpo Marx in another episode.  That same episode jokes about the low-carb fad that once dominated America and so many other topics.  And that is all just in a matter of minutes early in the episode’s run.  One of the most pleasantly surprising elements of the episodes’ writing comes late in the season in “The Passed-Over Story.”  This episode does something that few if any mainstream series in any genre did at the time.  It actually celebrated the Jewish holiday of Passover.  This is extremely important because of how rarely it seemed to happen in mainstream television at the time.  Because of that it becomes a truly welcome and in its own right, heartwarming moment that will put a smile on every viewer’s face.  This is especially the case as the writers timed the scene in question just right, breaking the emotion just enough at just the right time.  it makes for one of the season’s most underrated yet memorable moments.  It is just one more example of how the writing, in its more detailed aspects, makes the fourth season of The Nanny another hit for both the series’ original fans and a whole new generation of fans.

The work put in by The Nanny’s writers throughout the course of the series’ fourth season paid off in spades as it will keep audiences completely engaged and entertained from one episode to the next right up to the season finale. And together with the fact that each episode is presented in whole, the show’s long-time fans are given plenty to appreciate in this first standalone season set from Shout! Factory. While both elements are of equal importance to Season Four’s overall enjoyment and success, there is still at least one element left worth noting about the collection. That last element is the work of the show’s cast. The cast’s work in front of the camera within each episode will entertain viewers just as much as the season’s writing. This applies not just to the cast’s interpretation of each episode’s script but to the timing of each cast member’s lines. Most notable of the cast is Daniel Davis, who plays Maxwell’s butler Niles. Davis’ chemistry with his cast mates and his timing with each line makes him shine as one of the show’s true stars. His constant deadpan delivery of his lines coupled with said lines and the timing of his delivery is a combination that will have viewers laughing uproariously every time he speaks. Drescher is funny in her own right as the show’s star, though in a different manner. There’s something about her acting (just as much here as in the show’s first three seasons) that echoes Lucille Ball’s brand of comedy in I Love Lucy. This applies both to the timing and delivery of her lines and to her occasional physical comedy such as in “The Fifth Wheel.” When Fran gets caught between C.C. and another friend as they make out with their male friends, Fran ends up getting pushed down in the booth, leading her to have to eat her pasta with just her mouth. The way that she did so followed by her line about having to do so instantly conjures thoughts of the late, great actress. Lauren Lane, who plays C.C. Babcock is just as entertaining when partnered with Daniel Davis. The duo’s constant back and forth makes for its own share of laughs. That is especially the case being that the dialogue and acting in question never feel the least bit forced. Both are so dry in their delivery and timing that it feels like it could have been adlibbed, even though it wasn’t. On another note, Charles Shaughnessy is entertaining in his own right, too as Maxwell. Being the bumbling, insecure father figure, it makes Drescher’s job all the easier in delivering her lines. Whether for that pairing, for the pairing of Lane and Davis, or for each cast member’s work alone, each of the cast members show in his and her own way exactly why their work in front of the camera is just as important to the enjoyment and success of The Nanny’s fourth season as the work of those behind the cameras. The work of the cast and the writers together with the season’s presentation in whole makes The Nanny: Season Four just as welcome in the home DVD collections of the show’s long-time fans as those that might be new to the modern classic.

The Nanny: Season Four is just as welcome in the home DVD collection of any of the series’ long-time fans as it is in the collections of those that are less familiar with the series and its rich history. The main reason for this is the fact that all twenty-six episodes from Season Four have been presented here exactly as they were seen in their original broadcasts. The work of both the show’s writers and cast make this season all the more enjoyable for the show’s fans. All things considered, the fourth season of CBS’ modern classic sitcom shows in its first-ever release to be a collection that any of the show’s fans will want to add to their own home DVD collections. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/the-nanny-season-four. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Peg + Cat’s New DVD Is Yet Another Great Treat For The Whole Family This Halloween

Courtesy:  PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

The countdown is officially on, everyone. September is finally in its final days. This Thursday, October will finally be here. And that means that it won’t be long before Halloween is finally here, too. And with it will be plenty of offerings for audiences of all ages to get into the festive mood. The problem is that it seems that most of those offerings are the same ones that are released every year. So what is a person to do in the search for something new? Well for those festive families out there, PBS Kids has an answer in the form of its latest collection of episodes from its math-based series Peg + Cat. Peg + Cat: A Totally Awesome Halloween is another fun new offering for any family this Halloween. That’s especially the case for those families looking for options for their kids’ Halloween parties. It only boasts four episodes. But even with those four episodes, there is plenty to like about it starting with the writing behind each episode. Obviously basic math skills lie at the heart of each episode. But there is far more to each episode’s script than just that such as the writers’ direct tribute to The Twilight Zone in “The Highlight Zone Problem” all the way down to the episode’s twist ending and the not so subtle pro-ecology lesson tied in to “The Parade Problem.” Those are just a couple of examples of how the writing behind each episode makes this collection a joy for every family. The work of the series’ cast is another positive to the set. Voice actors Hayley Faith Negrin and Dwayne Hill (Mean Girls, Jimmy 2 Shoes, Arthur) are just as enjoyable together in these episodes as ever. Last but hardly least worth noting of this set’s positives is its pairing of activities included inside the DVD’s case. While there are only two activities, both are great ways to keep kids and their parents busy together for quite a while. And to quote the one and only Martha Stewart, that’s a good thing. Yes, that bad joke was fully intended. Whether for those activities, for the work of the show’s voice cast, the work of the show’s writers or for all three elements together, viewers of all ages will agree in watching this collection, which is available now on DVD, that it is indeed another great fit for any family’s Halloween party this year and any year. It is also more proof as to why PBS Kids is the last bastion of truly worthwhile children’s programming on television today.

PBS Kids’s new collection of episodes from its math-centered series Peg + Cat is not the first of its kind to be released this year. Even with that being the case it is still its own great addition to any family’s Halloween party this year and any year. The central reason for its enjoyment is the work of the series’ writers. The basic math skills and their ability to reach the show’s target audience are all there as with every other one of the series’ episodes. That goes without saying. What really makes the writing in these episodes so enjoyable is that the writers have incorporated elements that will entertain viewers of all ages. That is made clear right in the collections’ lead episode “The Parade Problem.” This episode is aimed in general at younger viewers with its lessons about organizing things into groups and of recycling. “The Highlighter Zone on the other hand targets audiences of all ages. Younger viewers are targeted through the lesson teaching them about finding things that are different. Grown ups are targeted with the episode’s direct tribute to The Twilight Zone. The writers even pay tribute to series creator Rod Serling as they have Ramone (Thamela Mpumlwana–The Gabby Douglas Story, The Warrior and The Savior, Group Home) open the episode. The writers also go so far as to present the story in black and white (at least until Peg and Cat find things that are different, thus bringing everything back into full color) and tie in a double twist ending to the story. “The Bermuda Triangle” problem is another great example of how the writers target adults and children alike in these episodes. This episode sees Peg and her four-legged friend get caught in the Bermuda Triangle after trying to save Pig (Tommy Wazelle–Noah). Children will appreciate the basic geometry lesson taught as they try to escape. Adults will appreciate the presentation of one of so many theories about the infamous area of the Atlantic. There are those that believe there is actually something inside the Bermuda Triangle, including a whole other dimension of sorts. And that is somewhat presented here, just in its own original manner. In the case of this story, it is hypothesized–playfully–that the Bermuda Triangle is actually a solid, tangible thing and place. That in itself is worth its share of laughs. It is just another example of what makes the writing behind these episodes so great for the whole family. That is not to take away from the set’s fourth episode “The Halloween Problem.” This episode teaches its own equally important lessons about counting, organizing, and even sharing. Altogether, the writing presented in all four of this collection’s episodes shows in whole exactly why it is so important to the whole of the collection’s enjoyment. It is just one part of what makes this collection so enjoyable for the whole family, too. The work of the show’s voice cast is just as noteworthy.

The work of the writers behind Peg + Cat is one of the big reasons that this family friendly math-centered series has proven time and again to be such a welcome addition to PBS Kids’ daily lineup. That is evident in all four of the episodes featured in the show’s new Halloween-themed collection A Totally Awesome Halloween. It is just one part of what makes this collection so enjoyable. The work of the show’s voice cast is just as impressive as ever, too. Every one of the show’s young female viewers will love Hayley Faith Negrin once again as Peg. There s just something loveable about her that will put as much of a smile on parents’ faces as on those of their children. And Dwayne Hill proves once again to be just as entertaining as ever. Hill makes Cat such a comical character throughout each episode. From those moments in which Cat gets angry to his happier moments, Hill will leave audiences laughing together just as much as in the series’ other episodes. On another level, Thamela Mpumlwana is just as great taking the place of Rod Serling in The “Highlight Zone Problem.” It’s just one more example of how the work of the show’s voice cast adds to the collection’s enjoyment. Even with the enjoyment added to the episodes through the work of the show’s voice cast in each episode, there is still one more element to note to the set’s positive. That final element is the bonus material included inside the DVD’s case.

The work of both Peg + Cat’s writers and voice cast within each of the episodes in the series’ new Halloween-themed collection go a long way toward making it enjoyable for the whole family. While both elements together do plenty to make this collection so enjoyable for viewers of all ages, they are still not all that make it worth the watch. The bonus lessons included inside the DVD’s case round out the presentation. There are only two lessons. but both are Halloween-themed and are sure to have parents and children interacting together for quite a while. The first of the lessons uses pumpkin seeds to drive home those basic counting skills. It requires adults to cut open a pumpkin and get a little messy first and foremost. Of course they can encourage kids to get messy, too. From there, parents and kids can pull out the seeds inside the pumpkin. And kids can estimate just how many seeds they think are there after grouping the seeds. From there, kids can count for themselves just how many seeds were actually pulled from the pumpkin. The lesson is furthered with a push for author Margaret McNamara’s book How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? The second of the bonus lessons advances those sorting skills while also helping drive home the recycling lesson taught in “The Parade Problem.” It does so by showing parents and children how to make their own homemade recycling bins and sorting out anything that can be recycled. There is even a bonus within the bonus encouraging adults to take kids on a trip to a recycling center so that ids can learn even more about the recycling process and those that make the process happen. There is even a suggestion to find out about volunteering as a family at a recycling center. So not only is this a way to encourage recycling but a way for any family to do things together at the same time. It’s a win-win for all involved. And together with the lesson centered on sorting and counting pumpkin seeds, the two lessons together are the finishing touch on a set that every family will enjoy not just this Halloween but every Halloween.

PBS Kids’ new Peg + Cat DVD A Totally Awesome Halloween offers audiences of all ages so much to enjoy even with just four episodes and two bonus lessons. The writing will entertain grown ups just as much as it will their children within each episode. The voice cast’s work is just as entertaining here for viewers of all ages as it is in other episodes of the family favorite series. And the bonus lessons included inside the DVD’s case put the finishing touch on the presentation especially considering that they not only help drive home the episodes’ lessons but also encourage that all-too important family interaction once again. All three of the noted elements by themselves make this collection another great addition to any family’s Halloween party this and every year. Together, they show once again why this series is such a hit in general and why, again, PBS Kids is the last bastion of truly worthwhile children’s programming on television today. Peg + Cat: A Totally Awesome Halloween is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=66322766&cp=&sr=1&kw=peg++cat&origkw=Peg+%2B+Cat&parentPage=search. More information on this and other Peg + Cat collections is available online now along with lots of Peg + Cat games and activities at:

Website: http://pbskids.org/peg

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PegPlusCatTV

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STS Creates Another Musical Masterpiece In Its Fifth Full-Length Album

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Veteran prog-rock outfit Scale The Summit released its latest album last Friday. The album, simply (and aptly) titled V is the band’s fifth full-length studio effort since its formation roughly ten years ago in Houston, Texas and its fifth in the eight years since the release of its 2007 debut album Monument. That is impressive considering that it is nearly double what most bands manage to churn out in that amount of time. Most bands typically can get out three albums over ten years if they’re lucky considering touring schedules for each album. STS has proven over the course of its eleven years together to obviously be anything but one of those bands having released a new album every two years since the release of its 2007 debut. That’s not the only way in which the band has proven to be anything but standard. It has also shown that in regards to the overall content of each of its previous recordings. None of the band’s previous four albums have sounded like the other. And even within themselves, none of said records have stuck to just one style of rock, either. They encompass both the prog-rock realm and that of prog-metal. There are even some modern jazz influences in each of the band’s compositions as well as other influences. That is just as much the case in V as in the band’s previous records. That variety will keep listeners just as engaged throughout the course of this record as its previous offerings. And for those that might be less familiar with the band’s body of work it is just as effective as a first impression. Keeping all of this in mind, V shows in full to be yet another impressive effort from STS as well as yet another candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock record and one of the year’s best new hard/rock albums. Such success means it is also just as easy of a candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new albums overall.

Scale The Summit has proven time and again to be one of the best bands in the prog-rock and prog-metal community over the course of its now eleven years together. That is because it has made a concerted effort to be different from both others within the world of progressive music and music in whole. That effort has paid off yet again on the band’s fifth full-length studio recording. Simply (and aptly) titled V the album boasts ten more instrumental tracks that longtime fans will enjoy just as much as those that might be new to the band’s body of work. That is made clear right from the album’s opener ‘The Winged Bull.’ This four minute-plus opus is one more example of why STS has so often been compared to the likes of Dream Theater and other well-known names within the prog-rock and prog-metal community. The dual-guitar attack of Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier coupled with Mark Mitchell’s work on the bass creates a sense of controlled chaos–counterpoint if one will. As much is going on just between the trio it is obvious that quite a bit of thought went into each part. That is especially obvious as Mitchell complements both drummer J.C. Bryant and his fellow guitarists. Speaking of Bryant, his ability to keep time while handling the rather difficult polyrhythmic patterns throughout is just as impressive here. The end result of all four musicians’ talents together is a song that comes across as one part Dream Theater and one part Meshuggah. It is a song that was definitely the perfect choice to open this album and easily one of the album’s best moments. That says plenty considering just how much there is to say to the positive of all ten of this album’s impressive compositions.

‘The Winged Bull’ is a solid, impressive opener for STS’ latest full-length studio recording. That is because of the talent exhibited by each of the band’s members by themselves and as a collective unit. The effect of the band’s collective talents is a song that sounds like controlled chaos in the best possible manner and that conjures thoughts of Dream Theater and Meshuggah over the course of its nearly four and a half-minute run time. While it is in its own right an impressive part of the album’s whole, it is of course just one example of what makes the band’s latest offering such an impressive record. ‘Oort Cloud,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is yet another example of what makes V such an impressive effort from a band that is part of the future of prog-rock and prog-metal. That is because it is one of those pieces that puts on display the band’s modern jazz influences, as noted earlier. The song opens with a decidedly difficult riff from bassist Mark Mitchell. It’s not some speed metal riff or anything of that sort. Rather it’s the type of lick that conjures thoughts of legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius. Michell executes that opening with the utmost expertise and continues to hold his own as the song progresses through its roughly five and a half-minute run time, too. His are not the only talents worth noting in this song. Drummer J.C. Bryant joins Mitchell as the song’s other central musician. Bryant shows just as much talent here as at any point throughout the album as it requires far more control being that it is not nearly as intense as those songs.

Both ‘The Winged Bull’ and ‘Oort Cloud’ are in their own right impressive additions to the whole of V. That is because both songs show in their own way the diversity of the band members’ talents and influences. They show once more that despite its label as a prog-metal band, it is obviously so much more than that. They are just two ways in which the band exhibits that diversity and diversity of talent in this record. ‘Kestrel,’ which also comes later in the record’s run, is one more example of the reach of the band members’ talents and in turn the diversity of the record’s sound. It is a heavy song. There is no denying that. However, what is truly interesting here is that for all of its heaviness, it is still is not just one of those adrenaline-fueled, thousand mile-per-hour pieces that allowed the band to just ground and pound for lack of better worked. Rather it is a piece that obviously required a certain amount of attention because of its changing time signatures. It is a piece that built right from its opening bars until its abrupt but solid ending. It requires audiences to really listen to the song in whole to appreciate its depth. In appreciating that depth, listeners will agree that said depth makes clear why ‘Kestrel’ is one more of V’s highest points. Together with ‘The Winged Bull’ and ‘Oort Cloud’ all three songs present in full clarity why V is yet another impressive recording from STS and why it is a triple threat of an offering from one of the leaders of progressive music’s next generation.

Scale The Summit is one of the leading acts in progressive music’s next generation. That has already been made clear through the band’s first four records. Its latest full-length studio effort V strengthens that argument even more. That is because the ten tracks that make up the body of the record stand out from the compositions included in the band’s previous records and from each other within the course of this album. All three of the songs noted here are each prime examples of just how much the record’s songs stand out. That is not to discount any of the album’s other songs either. All ten tracks could be used as examples of the record’s solidity. That taken into consideration V shows itself to be a triple threat of a record. It is a record that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock records, best new hard rock/metal albums and in turn the year’s best new albums overall. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct via STS’ official website at http://www.scalethesummit.com and its official online store at http://www.scalethesummitstore.com. More information on V is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and tour updates at:

Website: http://www.scalethesummit.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scalethesummit

Twitter: http://twitter.com/scalethesummit

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.